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Fall Of The World

Chapter Text

For a while, things actually seemed like they were going alright. No one else was trying anything against them. Tamao finally had some time to breathe. Time to actually focus on getting the kingdom in working order again. It was nice to finally be at peace.

Unfortunately, that peace was disturbed about two weeks later. Though, not in a very normal way.

Ichie had approached her one late evening, probably too late for any of them to still be awake, "Tamao, we have two people asking for refuge in our kingdom."

"What? From where?" Tamao had no been expecting that to ever be a problem she dealt with. Especially not this soon. Who would come seek refuge in a kingdom that was starting all over?

"I'm not sure. They're hurt, Tamao. They were attacked." Ichie replied, "I didn't want to press them in that condition."

"Take me to them." Tamao ordered.

Ichie nodded and guided Tamao to the infirmary. Michiru and Yachiyo were in there, appearing to be the ones watching the unexpected visitors.

Tamao took in the two people. Both appeared to be around her age. They both looked beat up, one more than the other. Tamao took a good look at their clothing styles. If they were nobles or something she would be able to tell from where by what they wore.

"You two are from the Star-Crossed Kingdom." Tamao stated, "Why are you here? We have a law against any of you coming here."

Tamao was staring them down firmly. She didn't like them at all. That kingdom was nothing but trouble. Who knew if these two were even telling the truth? They may be spies and not refugees. She had to tread very carefully here.

"Tamao, please." Ichie said, "They're injured. At least heal them or patch them up first."

Tamao growled into Ichie's ear, "Fine. Get Rui and two more. I don't trust them at all."

Ichie stared at her with wide eyes for a moment, before nodding and exiting the room. Tamao walked closer to the two refugees.

"What are your names?" She demanded.

"My name is Maya." One of them spoke up, the less injured one, "This is Claudine."

"You work for the queen." Tamao growled.

"Not anymore." Maya replied, "We're on the run."

"Why?" Tamao eyed her warily. She didn't fully trust anything she was saying.

"I... lied about being blessed and... got found out..." The other one, Claudine, spoke, "She... ordered everyone to kill me."

"For lying about a blessing?" Michiru questioned, "That seems... extreme."

"As if that queen isn't extreme." Tamao grumbled, "Why do you think we don't let those citizens here?"

"Oh. Right..."

"Then why is she here with you?" Tamao nodded to Maya.

"If it hadn't been for her I probably wouldn't be alive." Claudine replied, "And a few other friends helped as well."

"Why come here?" Tamao asked, "If they had recognized where you were from you would've been killed on sight."

"Because you have no ties to the queen." Maya said, "The only other option is best friends with her. It would be unwise to go there. And, as you can see, we wouldn't make it much farther."

"Why are you injured?" Tamao questioned.

"Bandits. They jumped us." Maya explained.

"We're here." Ichie returned with Rui as well as Mei Fan and Fumi.

"Alright." Tamao nodded to them and then returned her gaze to the refugees, "I assume you are aware we are blessed. Rui can heal you, if you will accept it."

"We know." Maya said, "That's... how she got found out..."

"Hmm?" Tamao questioned.

"Oh." Yachiyo spoke up, "She lied and said she had a blessing that one of us has and that's how they found out."

Claudine nodded. She was looking down at the bed.

"Would you like Rui to heal you?" Tamao asked.

"Will it hurt?"

"Not at all. Just a weird feeling." Rui said reassuringly.

"Go ahead."

Rui looked at Tamao. Tamao nodded to her. Rui walked over to Claudine first. She was the more injured one. She was higher priority.

Claudine watched her warily as she approached. Rui tried to seem as unthreatening as she possibly could. She wasn't quite sure if Claudine was perceiving her as threatening to be begin with, but didn't want to take that risk.

Rui carefully placed a hand on Claudine. While yes, she could heal without doing it, it was a lot less draining if she was touching them. Claudine watched her as she started. The process took a while as there was a lot for Rui to heal.

"There. Does that feel better?" Rui asked as she pulled back.

Claudine moved some of her limbs to test them, "Yeah. Nothing hurts anymore."

Rui nodded and went over to Maya. Maya was a lot more confident when facing her. Probably because she had gotten to see what it looks like first.

"Ready?" Rui asked.

Maya nodded, "Yes. Go ahead."

Rui healed her as well. She stepped back and stood back beside Tamao. Tamao looked the two girls over again.

"So, what exactly do you want from me?" Tamao questioned.

"Just some refuge. We'll gladly leave and go farther on if you want. Just give us a few days to rest." Maya answered.

"Wait." Claudine cut her off from continuing on, "That's not what we agreed on."

"Claudine, " Maya faced her, "We are not welcome here. We shouldn't try that."

"Let her ask." Tamao stated.

Maya gave Claudine a glance, but didn't say anything else.

"Will you help us?" Claudine asked, "To... stop the queen?"

"In what way?" Fumi demanded, "We have barely come off from our own war."

"If you can help... our friends escape too, she'll be powerless." Claudine continued, "We wouldn't ask you to fight on our behalf like that. We simply want help with a... rescue mission, I suppose."

"There is no way we would help you-"

"Fumi, leave."

"Tamao?"

"Leave. If all you'll do is argue, I don't want you here."

Fumi frowned and stepped out of the room. Rui glanced at Tamao and exited the room as well. Tamao took a deep breath.

"Apologies, she's just very defensive." Tamao said, "It's just very stressful trying to get settled and handle everything."

"It's alright. It's understandable."

"Going back to the topic at hand, you are asking us to help your friends escape that queen?" Tamao questioned.

"Yes..." Claudine nodded, "Please. They're in danger... because of me..."

"Rest for now. I will consider my options." Tamao said, "Yachiyo, Ichie, get them some food, please."

"Okay."

Tamao left the room as well. Mei Fan followed her.

"Are you mad at Fumi?" She asked once they were alone.

Tamao shook her head, "No."

"Really?"

"She gets very protective sometimes."

"Yeah..."

...

The next morning, Tamao came to her decision. She entered the infirmary alone. No one else was there but the two refugees. They were both up already. They turned to look at her as she entered.

"Good morning. Did you sleep well?" Tamao asked them with a smile.

"I guess."

"It was fine."

"I have a few questions to ask before I officially decide on my answer." Tamao said.

"What are they?"

"How many are there?"

"Eight more."

"Eight? That's one more than I thought." Tamao was surprised by that answer.

"The queen has never let anyone know of this new one. Because she was kidnapped and brought to our kingdom." Maya replied.

"Oh." Tamao sighed, "Someone like that is in control... willing to kidnap innocent people just because they're blessed."

"Yeah. It sucks." Claudine said, "Apparently she has a sister who barely escaped being kidnapped too."

Tamao's eyes widened, "Oh? She has a sister? Do we know where she may be?"

"No idea. They were on the run when they got attacked. Had no idea where their end goal was at the time." Claudine frowned, "We've searched everywhere for her sister in secret but still haven't found her."

"I see. I hope she lives."

"Yeah..."

"This doesn't impact anything but I do want to know if you have any inside info on what happened to the old queen." Tamao asked, "I know you weren't alive yet but have you been told anything? That you believe?"

"Probably the same as what you know. She was murdered by the new queen." Maya replied.

"And what of the rumor of the blessing stuff."

"That..." Maya thought about it, "The queen isn't blessed so that aspect isn't right. I can't say if the old queen could do that, though."

"Thank you." Tamao nodded to the two of them, "My decision... will be that we'll help you as best we can."

"Thank you, princess... um, queen?"

"Tamao." Tamao corrected, "You don't have to be formal with me in private."

"Really? That's... unusual."

"I've always been told I'm anything by normal." Tamao replied.

"So, how do you plan to do this?" Claudine asked.

Tamao shrugged, "I don't know yet. I would like to investigate a few things first."

"We'll be of as much help as possible."

"We'll need you for a lot. You have information we don't."

"Do you think it'll be easy to do this?"

"No. We aren't friends with that kingdom. Getting inside there at all is very challenging to do even for formal things." Tamao replied with a sigh, "This'll be complicated."

"They'll be hunting us down." Maya said, "They won't just let us escape."

"We won't let them find you." Tamao said.

That would be very hard to do. The moment the search started in this kingdom, hiding anyone would be extremely difficult. That queen would want to search everywhere she could for them. She didn't trust anyone. Wouldn't let them conduct their own searches. She had to be present or one of her representatives had to do it in her place.

"If it's going to cause you too many problems, we will just leave."

"It's fine. I want to help you." Tamao reassured them, "I don't like kingdoms like that. Blessed deserve to be free to do what they want."

"You're only the second person to ever say that in a position of power." Claudine commented, "No one's ever really gone against the norm before."

"Who was the other one?" Tamao asked. She had never heard of any other royalty having her views.

"The old queen. She was like you. At least, that's what everyone is told about her." Claudine explained, "I don't doubt it. She never made any laws against blessed like this one has."

"Perhaps being blessed contributes to that feeling?" Maya questioned, "She was blessed and so is Tamao. No other royalty has ever been known to be blessed before."

"Hmm... maybe." Tamao couldn't disagree with that.

It did seem very likely. She lived in fear like they all did. Even if she was royalty, it didn't mean someone wouldn't try to imprison her and use her for her blessing all the same. It could be why she didn't want to be like the others. Because she could end up in the same situation so easily.

"It should almost be time for breakfast. I'll have someone bring it to you once it's done." Tamao said, "I do have things I need to get done, unfortunately. I'll have to go."

"We'll see you later, I guess."

Tamao nodded and left the room. She went to the kitchen to see how breakfast was coming along. As she walked there, she ran into Fumi and Shiori.

"Good morning." Tamao greeted them.

"Good morning, Tamao." Fumi nodded to her.

"Are you two busy?"

"No. What do you need?"

"Would you bring the two visitors some breakfast when it's done?" Tamao requested, "And, Fumi, maybe apologize for your behavior."

"No. I'm not doing this." Fumi stated. She left in quite a hurry.

Tamao watched her. Fumi's behavior to the two girls was strange. She couldn't figure out why Fumi was being that way.

"I'm sorry about Onee-chan." Shiori mumbled, "It's a long story."

"Is it that she knows them?" Tamao questioned.

"We're from that kingdom."

Tamao was taken back by that. Shiori and Fumi were from the Star-Crossed Kingdom? She would have never guessed that. They really didn't fit the normal type she saw from that kingdom.

"That doesn't exactly answer my question, Shiori." Tamao said, "Do you know them?"

"No. But, we've seen what they've done to... others. Onee-chan doesn't like them."

"You've witnessed them punish people and as such, don't exactly trust them being here." Tamao said, "I understand where she's coming from, but there's no need for that behavior. They genuinely seem to be on our side."

"Could you give Onee-chan some time?" Shiori requested, "It's harder if you try to force her to get along with them."

Tamao nodded, "Very well. Shall we go grab someone else to help then?"

"Sure." Shiori agreed.

The two of them walked toward the kitchen, keeping an eye out for anyone else. They came across Yuyuko lazing about on a windowsill.

"Good morning, Yuyuko." Tamao smiled at her, "Enjoying the sun?"

Yuyuko stretched and rolled over to face Tamao, "Yep. Let me guess, you're going to disturb me to do something?"

"Unless you know where someone else is, yes." Tamao replied, "It's a quick task. You and Shiori are just taking breakfast to our guests."

Yuyuko sat up and yawned, "Fine. I can manage that."

"Thank you. You'll have the rest of the day to relax anyway."

"No meeting to discuss what we're doing?"

"Not yet. I have some things to think over first still." Tamao replied.

"Alright."

Tamao let the two of them go do as she requested. She headed out of the castle and to the garden. It was the spot she went whenever she needed to think.

Surprisingly, she found it wasn't empty. She rarely saw anyone else in the garden.

"Rui. Good morning."

"Ah, Tamao. Good morning to you too. Do you need something or just coming out for a bit?" Rui smiled at her.

"Enjoying the weather." Tamao returned the smile and sat down on a bench, "What about you?"

"Just wanted some fresh air." Rui sat next to her, "Have you visited the two girls today yet?"

"Yes. Where I was just before." Tamao nodded, "They're doing well. I agreed to do what I can to help."

"We all knew you would." Rui commented, "They don't deserve that treatment."

"Yeah... I hate how... accepted it is to just treat blessed like they're less than human." Tamao frowned.

Rui placed a hand on her shoulder, "We'll change that, Tamao. We'll expose it for how cruel it truly is."

"They're eight of them we have to try to get out." Tamao stated, "Apparently this queen isn't against kidnapping innocent people for her gain."

"Another one... I feel like this is a common theme."

"I really does seem so." Tamao agreed, "Her story is quite similar to Fumi and Shiori's. She got taken but her sister managed to get away. They haven't been able to locate her sister, unfortunately. We don't know if she is still alive."

"I hope so."

"Yeah..."

"Is there something else?"

"Shiori told me her and Fumi are from that kingdom."

Rui looked at her with wide eyes, "Really? I definitely didn't think they'd be from there of all places."

"Either did I. But... Fumi has a lot of distrust going on with those two. Getting them to work together may be very difficult." Tamao sighed. She really had a lot on her plate again.

"I see..." Rui sighed as well, "Hopefully soon she'll come around."

"Yeah. All we can do is hope she'll figure it out."

"So..." Rui looked at a bird that landed nearby, "Any idea how we'll save them?"

"No. I have no idea." Tamao admitted, "Getting into that kingdom is tough legally. Imagine the difficulty for doing it illegally."

"I'm sure we'll figure out a way in. When are you planning to discuss it with everyone?"

"Tomorrow. Give everyone a day to get ready."

"Very well. Shall we head in? It should be time for breakfast." Rui stood up and held out a hand to Tamao.

"Sure." Tamao accepted her hand and the two of them made their way inside.

As they walked, they heard some voices. It seemed like there was an argument going on.

"Where is that coming from?" Tamao whispered as she started heading toward the noise.

"Sounds like maybe the library?" Rui offered.

She was correct. There was in fact an argument going on in the library.

"They have done nothing to us. Be nice to them!"

"They're not on our side. They're spies. They'll get us killed."

Tamao sighed, "And there she goes again..."

"I didn't realize she was that bad..." Rui mumbled.

Tamao stepped into the room, "Fumi, for the last time, they are not the enemy. Treat them with respect."

Fumi glared at her, "No. You're blind to them, Tamao. They're going to harm us. They're lying."

"And where is your proof? I'll gladly believe you if you can give me physical proof." Tamao replied calmly.

She took in who else was in the room. Mei Fan was the one who had been arguing with Fumi. It seemed Akira and Ichie also happened to be here.

"I..." Fumi frowned, "I don't have any. But, I know it's true."

"Fumi, I understand that you don't exactly trust them due to their affiliations, but they have been nothing but cooperative with us. They have not tried anything malicious. Will you not at least try to give them a chance?" Tamao reasoned, "And besides, I can see their alignments, remember? They're both good. They're not going to betray us, Fumi."

Fumi was left trying and failing to respond. Tamao had a lot of good points. Especially now that she brought her blessing into it. That didn't lie. That meant they weren't bad like she though, didn't it?

"And what Claudine says is true. She isn't blessed. She wasn't lying about that." Tamao continued, "So, will you give them a chance, Fumi?"

Fumi lowered her head, "Yes... I'll give them a chance..."

"Thank you." Tamao walked over to her, "I appreciate the concern, but I promise you I would never take such a big risk like that."

"So... we're helping them, aren't we?" Fumi questioned.

Tamao nodded, "Yes. We're going to do whatever we can to help them."

"I... I'm sorry about being like this..."

"It's alright. If I wasn't blessed, I'd have probably agreed with you. It does seem very suspicious but it really seems to be the truth."

Fumi nodded. Tamao smiled at her. Fumi met her gaze for a moment, before quickly looking away from her.

"Well, now that that's settled, time to eat."